Caring For Your Aging Parents

parentsSeniors are living longer now than ever before.  Some maintain reasonable health and are mentally alert and active their entire life.  They are able to stay independent in their own homes and leading their own lives.

Even when your elderly parent is an active independent person they still need you to check in on them on a regular basis.  If they live alone it may be wise for them to have some sort of a medical alert devise in case of an emergency.

Many seniors are not so fortunate and develop either physical or mental deficiencies and can no longer be totally independent.

If it is at all possible the majority of seniors will be happy to be able to stay in their own home.  This may necessitate having a companion with them 24/7 to see to their needs.  Or, they may be able to have someone come in on a regular basis to help with cleaning, cooking, bathing, etc.  They may need someone who can drive them to the stores or doctor visits, etc.  It may be wise to do a trial run with a companion to be sure that the senior and the companion are compatible.

In some cases it is not possible to allow the senior to remain in their own home so you move them into your home.  Be sure you make them feel welcome and a part of the family.  Let them help as much as they are able.  The worst thing you can do for a senior (no matter how well intentioned) is to take over every aspect of their life and let them sit doing nothing but staring at a TV or doing word puzzles.

Some seniors are very outgoing and they may thrive better in an assisted living environment or a nursing home where there will be activities to participate in and people to talk with.

Be sure you include the senior in any discussions you have regarding their future care before you make a decision for them.

There are many things available for seniors.  Check with the Department of Aging in  your area to see just what services are available.  There may be transportation available to take the senior wherever they need to go.  There are adult day care centers and senior centers so they can have companionship and be active.

Some seniors will suffer with mental and/or physical problems and will need more care than others.  If they have some kind of disability look into the organizations supporting the disease or disability.  You may be surprised at the help available

If you are the caregiver for a senior you must take care of yourself.  You cannot help someone else if you are not healthy yourself.  Talking care of someone who is dependent on you is very stressful and you must allow yourself some time to relax and recharge your inner batteries.